Israeli Army Exempts Occupation Objector after 110 Days in Prison

A 19-year-old woman who served four stints in military prison after refusing to be inducted into the Israeli army was granted an exemption from military service with her release from incarceration on Tuesday, June 27, after spending a total of 110 days behind bars.

Occupation objector Atalya Ben-Abba

Occupation objector Atalya Ben-Abba (Photo: Yona Benstein)

The Israeli army released conscientious objector Atalya Ben-Abba from mandatory military service on Tuesday after she spent 110 days in military prison for refusing to be conscripted. Ben-Abba was released on grounds of unsuitability, after her request to be recognized as a conscientious objector was rejected a day earlier.

“The army can call the waiver [from mandatory conscription] whatever it wants, but the fact of the matter remains that it gave me a waiver as a result of my simple refusal to participate in a system that uses violent means to oppress another people, which has imposed an occupation upon it for 50 years, and is imposing a siege, the consequences of which are yet to be seen,” Ben-Abba said in a statement upon her release from military prison on Tuesday.

“I walk out of military prison with my head held high, alongside many supporters who, like me, understand that refusing to take part in the occupation is a necessary, moral choice,” her statement continued. “There have been other conscientious objectors who came before me and others will follow, [as] part of a growing movement of youths who aren’t afraid to say ‘enough is enough.’”

During her struggle and imprisonment, Ben-Abba was supported by Mesarvot – Refusing to Serve the Occupation, a grassroots network that brings together individuals and groups who refuse to enlist in the IDF in protest against the occupation.

In contrast to Ben-Abba’s case, about three months ago Tamar Ze’evi – who also refused to perform army service – was discharged for reasons of conscience after spending 115 days in military jail. Another woman, Tamar Alon, was discharged on grounds of unsuitability after 130 days in military detention.

Related: Occupation Objector Tamar Alon Exempted after 4 Months in Prison